This morning I was moping because it’s warming up outside but there are still no bugs. “Where are the bugs?”, I lamented.
The thing is, there ARE bugs. Gabillions of them. They’re just not the kind I really care for.
You see, every spring our house gets invaded. Look at our laundry room window. Just look at it.
@#$%^ flies. They all suffered Death By Vacuum 30 seconds later.
Those black dots on the window pane are ALL flies. Cluster flies (Pollenia sp.; Calliphoridae) to be precise.
I remember when we were house-hunting 6 years ago. One home (just the next road over from where we eventually settled) had a dozen or so flies in the bathroom, including – horror! – a couple of dead ones on the window sill. At the time I thought, “What kind of unsanitary place IS this? What unspeakable things must lurk in the walls, under the sink??”
What can I say? I was a city girl. Now I know that, if you live in the country, all it takes to have cluster flies in your house is…a house. With, like, walls and stuff. That’s about it.
These little buggers like to hibernate in large clusters (hence the name) in sheltered places, like in my attic and between my walls. As spring approaches, they warm up enough to slither through any little crack or crevice around baseboards, windows, light fixtures etc. Then they have big crazy parties on the windows. Then I take ferocious pleasure in vacuuming all the little #$%^s up. The survivors spend all night noisily bashing their little brains out against the window in the bedroom, or on the reading lamps. The cats sometimes catch and eat them. That makes me happy.
Those flies which are either kind or clever enough to slither back outside instead have big crazy parties on the siding of the house.
"S'up, dude?" "Not much. Just, like, clustering." "Sweet, me too."
About the only nice things I can say about these flies it that they are not germy nor do they harass us while we eat. They are only interested in what lies beneath the surface of the still-brown lawn: earthworms.
Fly on the lawn. I hope it gets entangled in those dog hairs and never escapes.
Unlike most Caliphorid flies (blow flies),which are attracted to dead and decaying organic material, cluster flies are strictly earthworm parasites. It’s one of the reasons they’re so abundant in rural areas; the vast expanses of fields and other green space makes it easy to support large populations of flies. The flies mate in the spring, and eggs are deposited in dense surface vegetation (our snow-squished lawn seems to work well for them). Larvae burrow into the soil after hatching, then attack their earthworm hosts, burrowing into their bodies. Adults emerge from the soil after pupation; several generations can take place during one summer, depending on the region.
It's mocking me.
There’s really nothing to be done about cluster flies, other than try to seal all entry points (clearly I’m doin it rong), and vacuum them up when they get in.